Canadian born Maggie Martin, Manager of Volunteer Marlborough shares two great iniatives recently launched in Marlborough: “Youth on Boards” and a “Youth Involvement Programme”.

“Volunteer Marlborough has launched a new programme which they hope will grow in the coming years to benefit the many community organisations they work with – Youth on Boards.

“A pilot programme with Volunteer Marlborough itself, for now, the aim of the “Youth on Boards” project is to increase the number of youth volunteers (aged 16 to 24) who are recruited, trained, matched, and effectively engaged in decision-making roles on non-profit boards so that they can help to shape the future of the Marlborough and Kaikoura region.

“Across the region, experienced Board members are retiring in greater numbers and, as more not-for-profits are established, organisations can face increasing challenges to recruit and retain Board members.

Youth on Boards

“Engaging youth as Board members can ensure relevance to the people being served and healthy relationships between young people and adults. It is our belief that learning about policy making, advocacy, and organizational leadership is essential for many youth and can help give them a sense of the democratic possibilities in society, and the inspiration and motivation to take action in their own communities.

“We have engaged two girls from Marlborough Girls College to work with our Board, as non-voting members, as a pilot for the programme. Next year it is hoped to extend the programme into other organisations.

Youth on Boards Programme

Katelin and Shannon

“Ultimately the 3-year goal is to place 40 first-time Board members, build training and support systems, and share best practice, tools, and resources with at least 20 organisations who have recognized the value of this programme.

“We encourage organisations to reject the old thinking regarding youth – ‘lazy’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘selfish’ – and instead look at them in a new light. Youth offer intelligence, creative thinking, and a valuable outlook on the world that is rarely introduced into the governance of organisations.

“With our Youth on Boards programme and our new Youth Involvement Programme – leading focus groups around youth in volunteering and planning volunteering events – we hope to grow the number of young people representing a very important demographic. These young people, although a relatively small percentage of the total number of volunteers in New Zealand, are critical to ensuring the future sustainability of the voluntary sector.”

Meg Martin, Manager
Volunteer Marlborough